By Seamus Hayes
All-Ireland senior hurling champions Clare will begin their 2014 championship campaign at the Provincial semi-final stage where they will face either Cork or Waterford.
A first round win for Cork will result in a repeat of the All-Ireland final which produced two outstanding games before Clare brought home the Liam McCarthy cup for only the fourth time in their history
Five counties will compete for the Provincial crown and the second semi-final will be between Tipperary and Limerick. A Cork win over Waterford in the only quarter final game will result in a repeat of the semi-final pairings from 2013.
Meanwhile, in the senior football championship Clare will face Waterford in a quarter final with the defending champions Kerry awaiting the winners. In the other half of the draw Tipperary play Limerick with Cork awaiting the winners.
Last week the Munster Council, controversially, decided to seed Cork and Kerry for 2014, a decision that has drawn a strong response from the players in the remaining four counties in the Province who, earlier this week, threatened to withdraw from the McGrath cup and from the inter Provincial competition and then reviewing the position before the championship.
Dates and venues for these games will be decided at a meeting of the Provincial Council later this month when the draws for the under 21 and minor championships will be made